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The day Franz Klammer made us all yelp like sea lions

In his thrilling downhill victory at the 1976 Winter Olympics the Austrian seemed almost to be falling as much as skiing

Then, as now, there was snow on the ground, ice on the inside of my bedroom window and everybody had flu. I’d been off school for over a week. I lay in bed 24 hours a day. My parents were at work. Relatives and neighbours called in periodically to check that I hadn’t been kidnapped, or set fire to anything. They brought Lucozade and those old-fashioned oranges with skin as tough as rhino hide and pith so thick that by the time you’d removed it all your fingers were knotted with cramp and there was nothing left to actually eat. Those oranges were more for exercise than nutrition.

I filled the long hours of the day by picking the encrusted snot off my nostrils, trying to identify the bitter taste of the gunk I coughed up (iron filings?), turning my pillow over every 20 minutes so I could feel the cool side against my face, reading Commando and War Picture Library comics and waiting for the BBC’s coverage of the Winter Olympics to start. It was 1976, Innsbruck.

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